World Briefs

Mckinney Wins House Primary

Former Rep. Cynthia McKinney won enough votes to avoid a runoff in her quest to return to Congress. McKinney, who was targeted by Jewish donors two years ago because she is seen as anti-Israel, won 51 percent of the vote in the Democratic primary Tuesday in Georgia’s 4th District, avoiding a runoff. Jewish donors who had backed McKinney’s opponent in 2002 did not contribute heavily to this year’s race, and several said they were waiting for a runoff to fund a challenger. Instead, McKinney will face Republican Catherine Davis in November in the heavily Democratic district.

AMIA Evidence a No-Show

Evidence believed to have surfaced in the deadly 1994 bombing of an Argentine Jewish center has not appeared. Argentine President Nestor Kirchner told Jewish leaders in a meeting Monday that tapes of telephone calls by one of the suspects just after the bombing had been found, Jewish leader Abraham Kaul said. But Kirchner later said he told the Jewish leaders that only receipts for the tapes had been found. Earlier this week, the 10th anniversary was marked of the July 18, 1994, bombing of the AMIA center, in which 85 people died.

Iran Nukes Loom

Israeli intelligence believes Iran will have nuclear weapons by 2007. The projection was made by intelligence chiefs in a report Wednesday to Cabinet ministers, Israel Radio said. Recent U.S. assessments have predicted Iran’s atomic program will produce nuclear arms by the end of the decade. The intelligence chiefs also warned that missiles held by Syria and Hezbollah posed a serious threat to Israel.

B’nai B’rith: Cut Off Presbyterians

B’nai B’rith called for an end to interfaith dialogue with the U.S. Presbyterian church. B’nai B’rith, a leader among U.S. Jewish groups in promoting interfaith dialogue, cited three decisions by the Presbyterians at their recent general assembly: to fund conversion missions targeting Jews; to divest holdings in Israel and call on others to follow suit; and to label Israel an apartheid state.

“For a dialogue to take place between two parties — interfaith or political — both sides must accept the right of the other to exist,” B’nai B’rith said in a statement Tuesday.

The church has an estimated 3 million members in the United States.

Sharon Threat Seen

As many as 200 far-right Israelis want to see Prime Minister Ariel Sharon dead, the head of Israel’s Shin Bet service said.

“There are between 150 and 200 Jews who actively wish for the death of the prime minister,” Avi Dichter was quoted as telling the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Tuesday. Dichter said the biggest concentration of far-right vigilantes were to be found in the West Bank.

Settler leaders decried the briefing as an effort to discredit Israeli right-wingers opposed to Sharon’s plan to disengage from the Palestinians by withdrawing from the Gaza Strip and some of the West Bank. Recently, security around the prime minister was beefed up for fear he could be targeted for assassination.

Lantos Defends Anti-Semitism Review

Rep. Tom Lantos (D-San Mateo) is angry that the U.S. State Department opposes a plan for an annual review of global anti-Semitism. Lantos wrote Monday to Secretary of State Colin Powell suggesting that the level of hostility to Jews around the world warrants an amendment to the Global Anti-Semitism Review Act, currently under debate in the House of Representatives. The State Department says an anti-Semitism report would appear to afford special status to one group.

Chirac Denies Anti-Sharon Report

French President Jacques Chirac denied that he rescinded an invitation to Ariel Sharon to visit Paris. On Monday, it was reported that Chirac had sent a letter to Sharon after the Israeli prime minister called on French Jews to move to Israel because of anti-Semitism in France. Sharon’s statement incensed French officials. In a statement late Monday, Chirac’s office denied that a formal letter had been sent, saying instead that “a possible visit to Paris by the Israeli prime minister, for which no date had been fixed, will not be examined until the explanations demanded have been furnished.”

Palestinian Elections

The United States will help the Palestinians hold municipal elections this year. The elections would be phased, David Satterfield, the second-in-charge at the State Department’s Near East desk, told the Senate on Tuesday.

“We’re ready to assist the Palestinian Authority in preparations necessary to hold these free and fair elections,” Satterfield said. Until now, U.S. and Israeli officials have resisted new Palestinian elections, fearing they would validate the radical leadership behind the intifada. However, an Israeli official said the government approved the new proposal.

The attraction would be in allowing grass-roots moderates to create a base in the municipalities without handing P.A. President Yasser Arafat the victory he would likely get if there were national elections, the official said. Additionally, municipal elections would not require Israel to lift travel restrictions for campaigners.

Briefs courtesy Jewish Telegraphic Agency.